Unlike baby teeth, the permanent set of chompers we all receive in the days of our youth are never meant to go away. However, since these little things called “accidents” and “infections” unfortunately do exist; premature tooth loss is a common occurrence for millions of adults.
Determining Your Ideal Dental Replacement Device
Blunt force trauma to the face, bacterial decay, and periodontal disease are among the many factors that cause tooth loss, but the good news for patients is that dentists have a multitude of treatment options to replace missing teeth.
Of these, the two most commonly used (aside from dentures which apply to entire rows) are dental implants and bridges. But which type is right for your specific needs, and what advantages does either one have over the other?
Using a bridge to replace a missing tooth is typically faster, less expensive and avoids the need for dental surgery. With all of those advantages, using a dental bridge to replace a missing tooth can sound pretty appealing. However, most of the advantages of choosing a bridge are short term benefits; over the long term there are many more significant advantages to choosing dental implant treatment.
Here is why:
The Implant Edge
- Added Support For Connecting Teeth
Implants reduce strain on surrounding teeth that would have otherwise been subjected to undue pressure by a dental bridge. The more teeth a patient needs replaced, the more support the teeth on either side must endure when supporting a bridge. This is a non-issue with implants, since the prosthetic is affixed directly to the jawbone instead of connecting to adjacent teeth.
- Preservation of Jaw bone and Facial support
Many patients relay fears that ‘My cheeks will collapse in!’ after loss of a tooth. Fortunately, loss of a single tooth may not have such a drastic consequence, but loss of a tooth does lead to loss of jaw structure due to atrophy. Loss of multiple teeth and the supporting facial bone does start to have esthetic consequences. Dental Implants offer the advantage of not only replacing the missing tooth but also stimulating the underlying jaw bone to preserve bone support.
- Preservation of Natural Teeth
Did you know that placing a dental bridge requires removal of tooth structure from the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth? Not only does this weaken those teeth but they are also at higher risk of requiring root canal therapy in the future. Dental Implant treatment preserves adjacent teeth by anchoring replacement teeth securely to the jaw bone, leaving natural teeth untouched.
Granted there are times when bridges are the better choice, a majority of patients are better served by the flexibility and durability of their implant counterparts. Talk to your dentist about what option is right for you!